Having just eaten at our new favorite Sichuan restaurant and having some frozen fish in the freezer and Laura being away in Wisconsin, I decided to try my hand at recreating the Chili Fish we had at New Si Chuan Garden. As usual I did not have all the ingredients on hand and I was too lazy to drive down to the store to get them. Plus we are trying to use up what we have on hand prior to our move to Oregon. So I improvised. It turned out very well.
One thing that makes this unique is the Sichuan peppercorns. We just happened to have some from a recent trip to an Asian food market. They are really unique and I strongly suggest you use them if you can. They have this interesting “numbing” effect on your tongue, which is hard to describe unless you have already experienced it. I would not say they are “hot” or “peppery” but they definitely add a unique dimension to the dish.
Recipe’s a little complicated so I took photos along the way. Recipe is at the end.
1/2 teaspoon, baking soda
1/2 teaspoon, white pepper
1 tablespoon, corn starch
1 tablespoon, flour
1 teaspoon, paprika
6 Ounces, fish fillet – cod or haddock
1 small, shallot – sliced thin
3 garlic cloves
1 cup, avocado oil – or other neutral frying oil
1/2 cup, chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon, soy sauce
1/2 cup, rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup, chicken broth
1 teaspoon, Sichuan peppercorns
- Combine Sichuan peppercorns and chicken broth. This is to hydrate the peppercorns so they are not crunchy.
- Combine ingredients for breading and place in a shallow bowl.
- Slice fish on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices to maximize surface area.
- Dredge fish in breading mixture and let rest in refrigerator for as long as possible.
- Heat oil in medium pot and add shallot. Remove shallots when they are nicely browned with a slotted spoon.
- Add garlic cloves and let them get nice and golden brown. Remove and discard cloves. Now you have a nicely flavored oil in which to cook your fish.
- Add fish a few pieces at a time and flip them over when they are browned on the bottom. Remove to a serving dish. Add remaining fish and repeat.
- Pour off all but a tablespoon of the oil.
- Add chili garlic paste and fry for a minute or two.
- Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Cook for a minute.
- Add chicken broth and Sichuan peppercorns. Bring to a boil.
- Pour sauce over fish and serve topped with fried shallots.
This is for one person. Just increase the amounts to make more but remember to fry the fish a little at a time.